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JPII said animals do have souls...
Question from Anonymous on 3/15/2011:

Animals Question from on 03-05-2011: If sin never entered our nature and earth, would the animals have lived forever or been assumed into heaven after a designated time or activity? Or is this a topic considered an unknown mystery? Answer by Richard Geraghty on 03-11-2011: Dear Dina, Animals by nature are subject to death. God made an exception in the case of man, a rational animal. But when man sinned, God took away that exception. But since man's soul was a spirit, it would survive the death of the body. The souls of brute animals were not spirits and so would go our of existence. The is a great difference between a brute animal and a rational. To forget that is to hope that you will see your pets in heaven. You will have better things to do--like seeing God face to face for all eternity. Dr. Geraghty

When Pope John Paul II declared in a public audience in 1990 that 'also the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren' some people must have thought this was a new teaching, unaware of the Holy Father's scholarly familiarity with the authentic Hebrew texts. When he went on to state that all animals are 'fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect' and that they are 'as near to God as men are', animal lovers in the audience were ecstatic! The Pope mentions the special relationship of mankind with God as being created in His image and likeness. 'However,' he goes on 'other texts state that animals have the breath of life and were given it by God. In this respect, man, created by the hand of God, is identical with all other living creatures. And so in Psalm 104 there is no distinction between man and beasts when it reads, addressing God: " Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." The existence therefore,' the Holy Father reminds us, 'of all living creatures depends on the living spirit/breath of God that not only creates but also sustains and renews the face of the earth.'

This discourse caused a stir around the world, and was especially encouraging to Catholic animal welfare groups which had begun to despair that anything 'animal friendly' would ever be heard in Rome. The then professor of theology and dogma at the University of Urbino, Carlo Molari, called it 'very important and significant. It is a "sign of the times" because it demonstrates the Church's desire and deep concern to clarify present confused thinking and attitudes towards the animal kingdom. There should be no need, but the Pontiff, in reiterating that animals came into being because of the direct action of the "breath" of God, wanted to say that also these creatures, as well as man, are possessed of the divine spark of life and that living quality that is the soul. And are therefore not inferior beings or only of a purely material reality.'

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 4/22/2011:

Dear Anon,

Aristotle the pagan said that animals had souls. St. Thomas agreed with him that animals had souls. Their basic principle is that all living things have souls--plants, animals and men have souls because they are living bodies. But man has a soul which is also a spirit. In this regard he is like an angel. Now an angel can think abstract thoughts.Thus man can think abstract thoughts. But animals can't think in that way. Animals should be treated with respect. They are part of God's creation. They are helps to us. BUT THEIR SOULS AND NOT SPIRITS. The Pope never said they were spirits. Only the angels and human souls are spirits.

Dr. Geraghty


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